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Sweden takes Daniel to its heart after speech

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Sweden takes Daniel to its heart after speech
18:55 CEST+02:00
The newest member of Sweden's royal family, Prince Daniel, has made a roaring start to royal life. His confident yet emotional speech at the banquet following his wedding to Crown Princess Victoria has delighted Sweden's media, royal experts and large swathes of the population.

The website of both Sweden's largest tabloids, Aftonbladet and Expressen, still had Daniel's speech as their leading article on Monday evening. Aftonbladet described the speech as “the moment he became our darling prince.”

The speech “moved royals to tears and spread goosebumps over Swedes' arms around the whole country,” the paper wrote.

In an instant poll on the newspaper's website, 86 percent of nearly 140,000 respondents gave the speech five marks out of five.

An online poll on Expressen's website showed that Daniel was now respondents' second favourite royal, after his new wife. The wedding speech is being credited with his success.

“I thought it was a fantastic speech because it was so warm, loving and natural,” said Juan Navas, The Local's royal correspondent and former press secretary to the royal family.

“It shows that he is really capable of being prince of Sweden - there can no longer be any doubt that he is up to the task.”

Top Swedish public speaking consultant Katti Sandberg agreed that the speech had boosted the prince:

“He spoke without notes and was very emotional. Not using a script makes it feel like it comes from the heart,” she said.

“We Swedes are not so used to such emotional speeches - and that made the effect even greater. But it is risky, as there's always a danger that you'll lose it.”

“It was also impressive how easily he switched between English and Swedish.”

The prince also won plaudits for employing a little gentle self-mockery in a well-received part of the speech:

“Once upon a time the young man was... perhaps not a frog, in the beginning of the fairytale, as in the story first told by the Grimm brothers. But he was certainly not a prince,” he said.

Katti Sandberg said the speech's popularity is also due in part to Daniel Westling's relative anonymity prior to the wedding:

“We Swedes have not seen much of Daniel. Now we got to know him a bit. The speech was an answer to the question ‘can he do it?'”

“Now I don't think anyone doubts that he can. The only question now is whether he'll manage to stay walking two steps behind.”

Businessman Bernt Magnusson, who has advised the prince for several years, said he wasn't surprised by his success:

“I've followed Daniel for ten years and have seen how he has developed. He gave the speech without notes and that doesn't surprise me at all. He has had those words in his mind and ready-formulated for his mouth,” he told Expressen.

Saturday's wedding is being viewed as a success by organizers. Half a million people turned up to watch the Crown Princess and newly-minted Prince Daniel ride in an open-top carriage through the streets of Stockholm. A further 2.9 million people watched proceedings on television.

“The Royal Court is really pleased and they should be,” said Juan Navas.

“There were indications prior to the wedding that the monarchy had lost popularity, but Saturday was an indication that the monarchy and the royal family aren't going anywhere soon.”

The current whereabouts of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel are unknown. The couple reportedly slipped away quietly from their wedding reception at Stockholm's Royal Palace in the small hours of Sunday morning, and have not been seen since. They have no official engagements in their diaries until mid-August.

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